ORLANDO, Florida – In what was a well played pitcher’s duel, only a pair of sacrifice flies was what produced runs in this game as the Junior National Team dropped a tightly fought contest to the Houston Astros by a score of 2-0 at the Fall Instructional League Camp.
Both teams only registered three hits each in this game, Justin Atkinson (Surrey, BC) got a pair of hits for the JNT.
Mike Ellis (Surrey, BC) got the start on the mound for the Canadians. He gave up a leadoff infield single in the first inning, and after a stolen base, a pair of sacrifice flies scored the first run of the game and Houston took a 1-0 lead.
That would be the only blemish of Ellis’s outing. He went three solid innings, allowing one run on two with and gave up a pair of walks while striking out six Astros hitters.
The Astros scored their second run in the sixth inning against reliever Brian Smith (Pickering, ON) as a leadoff hit batsman, a pair of stolen bases and a sacrifice fly doubled Houston’s lead.
Smith went three innings in relief, allowing an unearned run and no hits. He gave up a walk and registered three strikeouts.
Levi Westerlund (Oyen, AB) pitched two scoreless innings in relief, allowing only a pair of walks while Iannick Remillard (Valleyfield, QC) threw one scoreless inning, giving up only one walk.
The JNT played an inspired game after receiving a special visit form one of Baseball Canada’s most notable alumni.
“Mr. Baseball Canada” Stubby Clapp, who is now a coach in the Houston Astros organization, payed the players a visit in the visitor’s clubhouse of Champion Stadium prior to the game and gave them a few inspirational words.
“I’ve put on a major-league uniform,” says Clapp, who was with the 2001 St. Louis Cardinals for 25 games, to a very attentive group. “There is no better feeling than putting on the uniform that you are wearing right now. Wearing CANADA across your chest is better than wearing a major-league uniform.”
The Junior National Team will try to continue to feed of those motivational words when they play a double-header on Saturday, October 10th. First up is a matchup with the Atlanta Braves at 10 AM, followed by a game against Seminole Community College at 2 PM.
with files from Bob Elliott
Canadian Baseball Network article